A COMMUNITY group that helps young people with troubled lives in Barton is expanding to help others around Oxford.

Thrive, a team of youth workers and volunteers who aim to build relationships with disadvantaged young people, is moving into the Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys estates in a bid to develop its work.

Members of the group will pool resources with the Leys Youth Programme (LYP) in their new offices on the estate to help bring about change and form Thrive Leys.

The move marks the first of what is hoped to be many more Thrive teams in other areas of the county.

Richard Colbrook, a founding trustee of the Leys Youth Programme, said the merger would lead to community work in the Leys becoming “better and stronger”.

He added: “We have known what Thrive does in Barton and they knew what we do here, so it was sort of a mutual agreement to merge so we could develop our youth work.

“We are also aiming to expand into other, more deprived, areas in Oxford and Oxfordshire so it made sense to join together.

“Both the communities in the Leys and Barton will benefit from this.

“We are similar organisations in the way we both do mentoring, but Thrive do a lot of leadership programmes and we have a partnership with the Oxford Academy where two of our youth workers go in two days a week.”

Thrive said there are 4,000 young people in the Leys area, with about a third growing up in child poverty, and more than 70 per cent of 16-year-olds leaving school without five A*-C grades at GCSE.

Thrive director Sarah Anthony said: “We are so excited to build on the wonderful achievements of LYP and see young people benefit from a Thrive team like the one in Barton.

“Together with our amazing supporters, we can see young leaders developed to bring fresh opportunities and possibilities to the Leys.”

Thrive started in Barton in 2010 as a team of youth workers and volunteers who moved house to live on the estate to build relationships with the hardest-to-reach young people.